“On a midsummer night…”
Do not worry. That’s definitely not how this is going to begin. Although, I’m an absolute romantic at heart, which I have finally accepted now, after having proudly called myself a very practical, not so emotional type of soul for the longest possible time. Frankly, I suck at being practical! I’m all heart! And I secretly love it!
I love my intuitions, love impulsions, and also thrive on it. I owe the most beautiful experiences of my life to my emotional self. If not for my impulses, I wouldn’t be talking to you .I wouldn’t have this story to narrate to you. But listen, be gentle with me alright. For it’s not a story, it’s a part of my life that I’m giving you a peek at here.
I’m a crazy and a passionate dancer (or I would like to believe), a lover, a dreamer…I lose myself, a lot walking on the roads, and a few times in another person… as I said, I love it .I draw inspiration from life, the people I meet, the music I hear .I smile, I paint, I crave to express myself, to dance, to be on my mat every other day, to stand on my head and breathe. I live to feel … day after day. To the end, I’m not a writer. I only share.
Her: “Hi there. This is Isha here. Liked ur profile. If ur interested in kind of an intimate relation with a girl, then go ahead and know me more. Take care. Bye”
Me: “Hi. Sorry Ish, not interested. But shd, say ur pretty attractive, guys wd make better pairs with ya. Take care”
Her: “Hi Swetha…ooh…anyways thanks. Still, we can be friends if u want. Reply if yes, else, take care and enjoy life. Chao”
Me: “Hi thr! Friends sounds gud. So u frm Delhi, wat u been up to.”
That’s how this story begins, in the month of May 2006.The conversation above is exactly how it went on my Orkut. Notice the eaten up words? I must confess, I’m highly embarrassed! Oh my god, totally retarded, the way I ate up those letters. And no, being 23 back then is definitely not an excuse.
Isha Gupta, an absolute Punjabi hotness and feast to the eyes, at least my eyes! I love it when people express themselves without boundaries and hesitation. I was shocked and at the same time, very impressed with this note. Especially since it came from a woman.
Now a little that I think you should know about my women and me. Well, to start with, and to give you a quick glimpse, I had my first kiss with a woman, a girl actually, considering I was in my 7th grade. I have always been attracted to women, and have had my sexual encounters with them throughout my life. Should say, I was always lucky in women happening to me very naturally, in course of time. And with time, I realized and learnt to accept, that it’s very natural for a woman to be attracted to another woman. It’s just that a few act on it, and a lot of them don’t. I grew up being extremely comfortable about my attraction to women as well as men. I just never thought it was that important a topic to be discussed, although, I also never denied being with a woman if someone asked about it. I always believed that I could have flings with a woman, and that eventually for me, it was going to be a man. I do commitments and relationships only with men. That’s what I did believe… ‘DID’ being the word to focus upon here.
Today, well, with course of time and experience, I proudly say, that I can only do commitments and relationships with women. I cannot live with a man.I am still attracted to men, but don’t connect with them emotionally. There!
*Whispering* It totally psyched me out to realize this! But am very comfortable with it now. Also, I run away from commitments, mostly … *tsk tsk*
Now to get back to my story, Isha and I started our chats on the good old Yahoo Messenger. Just can’t do without mentioning how much I miss those emoticons on it! Absolutely adorable! Or ‘Adorbs’ as some of you say it these days.
Isha was beautiful, she loved the internet, loved sex, loved women, and was the epitome of eroticism. I knew her exactly as she wanted people to know her as on the internet. Until I knew her better.
From the long hours of chats, through the night, into the day…I knew her as this woman, who was super smart and ambitious, fiercely loyal, kinky, still erotic, warm, full of drama and absolutely mysterious. She had this innate ability to keep her personal life absolutely separate from her life on the internet. But yes, somehow I was a part of her life and she was a part of mine, and that was completely effortless.
She made me touch myself, got me to look at my naked self in the mirror, made me love my own body, made me crave for hers, her touch, made me go naked in front of the webcam. We were crazy, doing stuff that was crazy intense. And even before we knew, we were in love. In love, having seen each other only in pictures… she never came on the webcam, it was only me. Never spoke to each other over the phone. It was just the letters, the words, the sound of me typing and the feeling. There was no reasoning. Reasoning did not make sense.
We craved to meet each other in person, but between being in college, moving cities and countries, that never fell in place .It seemed like we were not destined to meet, at least not for a while. But we continued to long for each other, made it to the messenger every single day. She was a part of my routine, through my weekdays and weekends.
Things moved a little further from just the sex, and the craziness over the chats. We were emotionally very involved with each other. I realized (though never accepted) that we were seeing each other. It was a little scary… and yet not so at the same time.
We were in a really sweet spot. It’s been 2 years, and there was never a dull day. It didn’t feel not normal, it didn’t feel any less an actual relationship. There was always excitement, the happy days, the bad days, when we would fight, when either of us would be PMS’ing or throwing tantrums with our mood swings.
Everything was just simply perfect, until she asked me this god-forsaken question… “So who else do you find attractive, apart from me of course”. Now that was clearly a trick question! Well, I’m generally a very frank person. You ask a question, and I will give you an answer, an honest one, always. 😉 I did take 2 names. Kate & Sharon.
Kate, now what do I say about Kate. A social butterfly, an entertainer, an absolute amaze to watch in Java City, my regular café hangout since college. A place where I would go alone, to catch a bit of the live Jazz and pop music and listen to the band over the weekends. It was a regular hangout place, with familiar warm faces that you would associate with, like the one in ‘Friends’.
Kate was beautiful, bold, loud, very musical, full of life, full of love. Someone who would always stand out in a crowd, always noticeable. Can be quite intimidating too. Kate and I got talking to each other through a strange guy in the café who was trying to hit on me. Although, I did notice her way earlier. She was attractive. And she was quite fond of me too. Beyond being fond, I did think that she was interested in me. You always know when someone’s interested in you, don’t you? This one question that she asked me totally gave it away.
Her: “So this friend of mine, she likes another woman, do you think that’s strange?”
Her: “Oh, have you been with a woman?”
And that was the beginning of another parallel story…
I realized with time that she was in the middle of getting over the breakup with her last girlfriend when we had met. Kate and I, we grew on each other, like fire. She never failed to amuse me. We kept each other amused and excited. There was passion, lust, and love. She got me nervous. Very nervous especially with her bold demeanor. The way she looked at me in a public space, the way she touched me as if everyone and everything else around just went blurred. We fit into each other, so well .Met every day. Sometimes early mornings, before work, in the cafes, sometimes in the evening, at java city. We were living with our families, so service apartments were our getaways, in all sense!
As Kate and I found better of each other with every day, Isha and I started to lose each other. Isha was a smart woman, she could feel me, this time, feel me not with her. She could sense the distance, something she had never felt in 2 years. And that scared her. I did not have to tell her about Kate. She just knew it, all of it. What she also knew, was that I would just drop everything and be with her, if she came to me. If she came to me, in the real world, outside the world of internet. She knew it, but she never did it.
She did tell me that she had planned to come and meet me on the 14th of Feb that year, to give me a surprise, to meet me, be with me in person for the first time. Of course, she dropped the plan since Kate was in the picture. When she asked me about Kate, I denied it. Yes, I lied. I knew it would break her heart. And I couldn’t do it, not over the internet. But she was sure there was something between Kate and me.
Isha and I had never spoken over the phone. She always refused. By now she was in the US. There was a time, when she finally decided to make that phone call to me, for us to talk. But it always happened when I was on the phone with Kate. The minute I would call back to the number, she wouldn’t answer the call. It happened too many times, and I almost gave in to destiny again, to say that we were not meant to talk to each other. It broke my heart into a million pieces, to not be able to talk to her, meet her.
She became this person in mine and Kate’s life that Kate knew she could never win over. Well, Kate didn’t have to. Isha walked out of my life. She cut me off, completely.
It was 2009.There were no more e-mails, no more chats. It was only me reaching out to her, month after month, year after year. Through offline chats, and e-mails. Through hand written letters that were scanned and e-mailed across to her .I did everything I could to get her to talk to me. Sometimes she would, more so often, she would not.
March 2011, Isha got back in touch with me. Kate and I had called it off by then and I was single. We were catching up on each other’s lives. Her women, her work. She was still in the US, this time with her mom and dad.
By now, I was working and was adamant that I wanted to be with her. I wanted to meet her in the US. Date her in person, live with her. But again, the stubborn her, she refused it all over again. She refused to give her address to me .She did not want me to meet her.
It’s frustrating. To feel what I felt for her, so mutual, and yet to feel so helpless. It was killing me.I started throwing my tantrum around like a stubborn kid, not willing to listen to anything that she had to say. But not like I could do anything anyway. How much could tantrums work over the internet *tsk tsk*
There were fights again, which I thought were completely senseless .Just felt absurd for someone to so not want to come out to the real world. And for love? Not even for love? (Now you know why I call myself an outright romantic fool)
She got in touch with me…because she was in stage 3 of her cancer. She said she has prepared herself mentally to accept death .To accept that one day, all that medical treatment would stop, the chemo would stop, the hospital visits would stop. The pain… would stop.
Isha did always have a medical condition that we never elaborately spoke about. But I was always aware of it. I did notice and saw the transition through the pictures, of how pale, frail and skinny she was starting to look through the years, when she was first in Delhi and later in the US.
She said she did not want me to see her in her current state. Said she was mostly bedridden and that it has been extremely difficult to accept death, she does not want to make it more difficult for the both of us
I was broken and was sad, very sad. Felt helpless. I just did not know what to do. How to help her, help me? All I knew was, that all this was going to end. There was going to be no more an Isha soon. Soon I would only have an e-mail id that I could write to, without her to read on the other end. There was going to be no more hope. Soon I wouldn’t even be able to hope to get a reply to my e-mails. Soon there would be loss. And I did not know how to deal with that loss. It was too much to feel. For once, I wanted to stop feeling.
I was torn. Trying to tell, what is real, and what is unreal. Why does it all seem so plotted? So played out. And at the same time, I also knew, and only I will know, that there will never be anything, that is as real as this, ever in my life.
It’s been 5 years since we knew each other. Since we were in love with each other, playing this hide and seek, within the vast universe of this thing called the internet. I wanted to make the best of the time I had with her. For once, I decided, not to fight with her over making it real in the real world. For once, I acknowledged us and our love for what it was. Isha and I, our story was never meant to be played out in the real world .Actually, I don’t even know if to call the world that we live in as real. So I’m going to stop calling it real, and call it, may be the world of touch and being social, for the feel of anything else more appropriate.
We finally acknowledged each other as girlfriends. Chatted how much ever we could. By this time I had a blackberry, which had the Yahoo chat installed in it. So we chatted whenever she would be online. At times, for couple of hours. And at times, just a few minutes. Most of the times, I would chat from work, in between work, a sneak between my trainings. I would know all about her day, and she about mine.
I knew too well of how her health, I could feel her health deteriorating. It’s like I was there with her through that journey, physically and emotionally too. I knew when she would be feeling weak. I knew a good day, versus a bad day of hers.
I was getting drained, emotionally. Preparing myself for the day. Would cry myself to sleep every night, after a very cheerful and fun conversation with her.
I even bought myself a book, called ‘The Joy of Cancer’ to know about Cancer, about a cancer patients journey through it, to better understand Isha’s journey through it. And it really did help me a lot.
It was painful, very painful, to realize that if she hasn’t come online today, it means she is either in a lot of pain, of that she’s in the hospital.
All my close friends, along with Kate, knew about Isha. They were there with me, supporting me through this phase. I needed Kate the most, and she was there.
I made Isha promise, that she would leave me her parents contact details. That I would like to be in touch with them as her friend. That I would need closure, and that she would help me with my closure. She said she would. And that when the day comes, she has a friend, who would write an e-mail out, letting all her close friends know about it.
9 June 2011:
I am Jesse, Isha Gupta’s friend.
With eyes filled with tears I deeply regret to inform you that Isha passed away today morning (8th Jun) due to cardiac arrest. She had been suffering with lung cancer for the past year. She was admitted to the hospital past weekend for respiratory problems, her condition had worsened since yesterday.
I have tried to cover everybody in Isha’s mailing list and request you to please pass on the news to all whom I may have missed. I’m so sorry to have to bring you this sad news and hope to be able to speak to you about happier events, the next time I write. Please join me in extending our condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace
I was at work when I read this e-mail. Broke down like a baby. She did not share her parent’s contacts. I was screaming inside my head, ‘Fuck you Ish! You did not give me the closure I asked you for”
Yet again, she had it her way.
I met my friends that evening in a café. Everyone came in to be with me.
I couldn’t handle her death. Death itself is so difficult, on others. The loss, so painful. I do believe, that it’s the most difficult feeling to deal with as human beings. I was struggling to make peace with it. I was going crazy and did not know how to help myself. I did not know how to find a closure here. I felt I was deceived. She left me nothing to hold onto, nothing to hold and break, to say it’s over.
I was desperately trying to reach out to Jess, her friend who wrote that e-mail. To get to her parents. Was trying to trace her folks address online with the information I had. But was in vain. Even thought I should go to Gokarna, write all my feelings down and let it out in the ocean to call it a closure.
I needed to help myself. In September, I discovered the meditative world of Yoga.
Yoga helped me through this journey, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a human being, a soul, the void. Things were starting to look up. I wrote an e-mail to a few of my close friends who were not in the country, coming out to them. Only because they were important, and I wanted them to know about an important event in my life.
So, do I finally have a closure? And the answer would be “No, I don’t”
I have just accepted that this is how it’s going to be. I just chose to find an inspiration from it, to write, to dance. I had the opportunity to experience, feel something absolutely special and beautiful in my life, and I’m grateful for it. For it’s made me a better person, evolve, learn, appreciate and love.
Every time I miss her, I dance through my heart ,my soul .I look back at the first e-mail that I have from her, and I smile.
She’s in my thoughts. I spend a few more minutes thinking about her on her birthday, again, with a smile.
I’m not sure if I really did my best at penning my story down. But I do hope that I was able to take you through the bit of my journey, at least, if you met me halfway!
So…Again, to start with, I love acting on my intuitions and impulses…To end with ….. I freaking trip on it!